There are all kinds of things you may want to back up, from the contents of your phone or tablet to your documents or photo library on your computer. You may want to back up your software, or even your computer’s entire set up. There are plenty of different ways you can back up your digital property, so you can get it back if something happens to the device it is held on or the files become corrupted in some way. Below are some of the most common ones, and what they are good for.
You can set up a separate drive on your computer to use as a back up drive. You can schedule things to automatically copy over to the drive every night, or do it manually. This is one of the cheapest ways to have a back up you can use, and one of the easiest to restore from in many cases, however it obviously comes with a few problems. For one thing, when your back up is held in the same physical box as your original, you have no protection at all if the computer is stolen, damaged in a flood or fire, or simply gives up the ghost from old age.
External Hard Drives
If you don’t want to back up to another drive on your computer, to save its space, you can use a separate hard drive. This works in essentially the same way, though you can buy external drives with huge memory capacities so this can be a better way to do things if you have massive media libraries and a lot of files to back up. While when an external hard drive is not having data shared between itself and the computer you can store it wherever you like, in practice people tend to leave them in the same area as their computer, meaning that again, many things that could take out your PC will take out the back up too. This makes it really only helpful for restoring after certain issues like a software or operating system failure.
Cloud Back Ups
There are lots of ways to get a secure back up via cloud hosting, which is where your files are stored somewhere on the internet, and won’t be damaged by anything that happens to your device. This means you can have copies of your files in a location where even if your phone or computer is stolen or irreparably broken, they will be safe and ready to download onto a new PC or phone.
There are various ways of doing this, depending on how much you need to back up. If you simply want copies of a few documents, a good ‘improvised’ way to get a cloud back up is simply to email them to someone or to yourself via your Gmail or other web based account. Your mail is archived on their servers, so the copies of your files will remain there as retrievable mail attachments. You can also back up your pictures by adding them to something like Facebook or Instagram.
For a more organized, ‘proper’ solution, you can use Dropbox, which lets you store files on the cloud and has the added benefit of giving you a very easy way to share files between people or your own devices. However, if you want a full back up of everything on your machine or your phone or tablet, you’ll need a cloud back up service designed specifically for this purpose for which you’ll have to pay a subscription.
Daniel Nector, the writer of this post, is a tech expert and a frequent blogger. He works as a software engineer in a leading software company that provides backup solutions. He likes sharing his knowledge about technology through his blogs.